The Airport Authority has proposed that the Hong Kong and central governments set up a mainland immigration checkpoint at Chek Lap Kok. Authority chief executive David Pang Ding-jung said the Hong Kong government had already responded positively and 'agreed in principle' to the proposal. The proposal comes as the authority embarks on a drive to better integrate with the mainland, seeking to ride on its phenomenal economic growth. 'Hong Kong needs to integrate with the mainland for sustainable growth,' Mr Pang said in Beijing. '[We want to create] the feeling that once you're in Hong Kong, you've also entered China.' The concept - similar to the system in Canada that allows visitors transiting to the United States to clear US immigration at the country's airports - had been proposed to the Hong Kong and central governments, he said. However, there would be many technical issues to be ironed out, he added, and it could take at least a few years before such a system would be in place. The Airport Authority has been accelerating efforts to strengthen ties with mainland airports and to increase mainland passenger and cargo traffic. Last week it finalised a 1.99 billion yuan agreement to jointly run Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou , Zhejiang province , taking a 35 per cent stake. The deal was aimed at 'bridging the economic activities' of the increasingly prosperous Hangzhou city and Hong Kong, Mr Pang said. It marked the authority's first such investment on the mainland. The authority is also widening its services to customers in southern Guangdong cities opting to fly to international destinations from Hong Kong. In one to two months, travellers taking connecting ferries from Dongguan , Shekou , Fuyong terminals - which are next to the Shenzhen airport - Lianhuashan in Guangzhou and Macau would not only be able to check their luggage at the ferry terminals, but they would be allocated boarding passes as well. Mr Pang said the ferry services now catered to 4,000 travellers a day, an increase from the few hundred when they were launched in September 2003.